When you wake up with a band's song stuck in your head after hearing it for the first time the day before, that's not a bad sign. Of course, it helps if the video for that song is equally striking, as is the case with "Tempers," from Monument duo Get Along.
The video begins as mundanely as possible, with Cara Summer and Nick Yanez sitting among friends and family at a campfire. "Hey Cara, why don't you play us a song," one suggests. The singer reluctantly agrees, at which point you're prepared for her to pick up an acoustic guitar and strum some earnest indie-folk ballad.
Instead the two musicians wander over to a conveniently floodlit band setup, complete with mics, amps, electric guitar, synthesizer, and drum kit. They launch into what sounds like a less bluesy version of the Kills playing some long-forgotten Blondie song, their breath visible in the 16-degree night air as a succession of arrows kills off their friends one-by-one. The video ends with them surveying the carnage with eerily satisfied grins.
"Our friends and family were not killed in the making of that video," Yanez assures me. "I just want to make that clear."
While there's a studio version of "Tempers" on Get Along's We Lit These Torches to See in the Dark debut EP, the song in the video was captured by the camera's built-in mic. With no sequencers or pre-recorded parts, it's an indicator of how the duo will sound live at Saturday's Black Sheep CD release show.
"Most people when they see us, whether they like us or not, they're surprised that we don't sound like a two-piece," says Yanez, who simultaneously plays drums and keyboards while his guitar-wielding partner — and recent fiancée — keeps a drum and keyboard in her own onstage arsenal.
As for the video itself, Yanez sees it as a kind of allegory for the song's subject matter: "I have this theory that parents never really know their children," he says. "We always hide our deepest, darkest secrets from our parents."
The song ends with Summer singing, "It's clear, my dear, there are no children here," a world-weary sentiment coming from an 18-year-old who graduated high school just last year. And at 21, Yanez echoes those concerns about the generation coming after them.
"It's like, we grow up so fast. You hear about 11-year-olds doing meth and having sex in the bathroom. And I'm like, I did not know these 11-year-olds when I was 11. Or maybe I did. I don't know, I guess I wasn't cool enough or something."
Reinventing the Wheel
Or maybe it was just that Yanez spent all his spare time behind a drum kit while his band, the Wheel, skipped school dances to rehearse for their next Union Station or Rocket Room gig. "We did that whole stereotypical thing. I think it was seven days after we graduated that we moved to California."
A year later, Yanez had moved back to Colorado, where he ran into Summer at a charity concert she'd helped organize. After hearing her sing, he approached her about starting a band.
The duo made its Triple Nickel debut a year ago as Plenty of Fish, but the dating site of the same name soon put a stop to that. When it came time to record the EP, the freshly coined Get Along set up shop in a converted log cabin.
"Cara's family is the oldest family in Monument," says Yanez. "They have this huge ranch that goes back six generations, and we actually live on it. It used to be a working ranch, but now the barns are collapsing and decaying, and there are still all these crazy old farm machines from the 1800s. It's kind of cool."
With a production assist from former bandmate Sean Woestehoff, Yanez recorded the tracks digitally, then flew to Boston to finish up in a studio that had two-inch tape and analog equipment. The result is a collection of already quirky songs made all the more so by generous amounts of slapback echo and post-modern primitivism. Songs like "Footprints" completely reinvent themselves midway through, while the closing "What Matters Most" uses the worst preset on a $50 synthesizer to create what Yanez calls the most lo-fi synthesized song he's ever heard.
At this point, Get Along may be one of the most original bands to come out of the Front Range. Of course, the duo will continue to hear White Stripes or Black Keys comparisons, to which I helpfully add Cults and YACHT.
"There's so much music out there and so much that's been done," says Yanez. "So someone will always come up to me and say, 'This is what your band sounds like.' But if you tell me we sound like Cults and one of our friends tells me we sound like Florence & the Machine, then we're doing something right, because everyone's getting something different."